Tower Grove Park with Allen and Lois Smith, 300914

October 1, 2014

I got a very affectionate email from

Allen Smith

(click on his name to go to his journal and photos)


and Lois, and we fixed up to meet in Tower Grove Park, which I have long wanted to visit as a birder. This time, armed with my trusty Metrolink monthly pass, I figured out a route (and Allen gave me a good alternative one), and we met up, as planned.

While waiting for them to drive in from Bridgeton, I was clicking a lot of interesting things that caught my eye. Some pavilions at the Park: IMG_2330 The Palm House: IMG_2318 The Kyrle Boldt memorial fountain: IMG_2320 A tiny rainbow that was as beautiful as its big cousin in the sky: IMG_2328 A baby COTTONTAIL RABBIT: IMG_2325 Some late-blooming Irises: IMG_2322 The beauty of Foxtail Grass against the stone: IMG_2321 This artistic arrangment of mushrooms and leaves (done by Nature): IMG_2347 A tiny grasshopper: IMG_2388 A tinier fly: IMG_2386 Sometimes berries hide a common friend, such as this NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD: IMG_2387 Even dead leaves are grist to my mill: IMG_2345 IMG_2340 Al and Lois introduced me to some of the hotspots in Tower Grove Park. We started with the Gaddy Garden IMG_2333 IMG_2332 We entered the wooded area to quite a cacaphony of bird calls, and I could not help remembering how Bob Bailey, Mitch Leachman and others who regularly come to guide newbies on the first Saturday bird walks at Forest Park, identified so many birds just by ear. There were a lot of warblers and thrushes; but looking right up the trees into the sky was not a great way to id them, and I must say, I couldn't tell them apart at all. Al told me about the occasion when they sighted a rare Connecticut Warbler there, and showed some lovely pictures and a video of its behaviour, too. As we entered the path, I found that the berries on this plant seem to be bird-magnets: IMG_2338 I got a beautiully-plumaged AMERICAN ROBIN in the berries: IMG_2334 This Robin seems to be a juvenile who hasn't grown his feathers yet (or else the salon visit didn't go too well): IMG_2336 We waited for a while at the Bubbler, which, according to Al, was very low on water this time. We saw quite a few birds, but they were high up in the foliage, making for Pain-in-the-Neck birding! And they were so elusive that they were all Binocular Birds, not Camera Birds. It was lovely to see a bench provided there, where Al and Lois posed for me: IMG_2371 It had this memorial plaque: IMG_2372 I only managed to click this bird, which Devin Peipert id's as a Nashville Warbler: IMG_2339 The warbler made the CBPDMP (Classic Bird Pose for Deepa Mohan ): IMG_2344 At the pool, I spotted this BOX TURTLE lifting its head up to the light: IMG_2359 IMG_2357 The turtle and the MOURNING DOVE made a nice sight together at the Bubbler: IMG_2358 However, on our second round into the path, I did manage to get this beautiful little DOWNY WOODPECKER (or is it a Hairy? I notice no bars in the tail feathers.) IMG_2383 IMG_2379 As a great finale, a RED-TAILED HAWK flwe in and settled down on a tall tree, and later soared in majestic circles, looking for food. IMG_2361 A passerby with colourful fall leaves in his hat shared our sighting of the beautiful Hawk. IMG_2370 As we walked near the Cypress Circle on Main Drive, Lois spotted this BROWN THRASHER: IMG_2352 The Woodland Pool in memory of Jack Van Benthuysen on the north side of Main Drive at the east end gave me this GREEN HERON on a Victoria Lily leaf: IMG_2327 Lois says she's "not a birder", but her spotting skills seemed pretty remarkable to me, especially when many of the birds I thought I was spotting turned out to be "fall"ing leaves! It was very helpful, indeed, of both of them, to take the time and trouble to show me some of the birding spots in the Park; I hope to go there again soon!

I make this post with “everything including the birds” as Al seems to be a nature-lover after my own heart…he loves seeing anything and everything that Nature can provide, and enjoys it all.

I’ve put up photos on my FB album


Al and Lois….thank you “berry” much for a very enjoyable time!